Saturday’s Game Report: Indians 2, Cardinals 1 (12 innings)
By Rob Rains
Trying to get a hit with a runner in scoring position is proving to be a tough assignment for the Cardinals these days.
They had multiple opportunities to do it in extra innings on Saturday and couldn’t, and combined with a couple of baserunning mistakes, that led to the 12-inning loss to the Indians.
“The fact of the matter is we had a lot of opportunities and couldn’t get the hit,” said manager Mike Shildt. “I know the effort is there but the execution is lacking. We didn’t help ourselves in a couple of areas.”
In the 10th, with the new extra-inning rules that begin the inning with a runner on second base, the Cardinals had the winning run on third with one out but saw Dylan Carlson hit into a force out, with Dexter Fowler staying at third, and Paul DeJong pop out.
In the 11th, DeJong failed to tag up and advance to third on Paul Goldschmidt’s fly to the warning track in center and after a walk, Yadier Molina hit into a double play.
“He knows he probably could have read that better,” Shildt said of DeJong. “I’m pretty sure he’s aware of that situation.”
Then in the 12th, after the Indians finally pushed across a run, Molina was on third with nobody out following a wild pitch. He stayed there as Dexter Fowler grounded out, then got caught too far off third when Matt Carpenter grounded to first and was run down and tagged out for a game-ending double play.
Combined, the Cardinals were hitless in seven at-bats with a runner on second or third in the three extra innings and had only one hit in 15 at-bats in those situations in the game.
“We’ve got to execute on offense when we get the opportunities,” Shildt said. “At the end of the day it’s about scoring runs. We want as many opportunities as we can get; we’ve just to start cashing in on them more.”
The loss was the fourth in a row for the Cardinals, and in those four games they have scored a combined six runs in 36 innings.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: Carpenter drove in the Cardinals’ only run with a single in the seventh following a leadoff walk to Brad Miller and a single by Molina. That was their only hit in the game with a runner in scoring position … Goldschmidt had the only hits through the first six innings, a double and an infield single … Following Carpenter’s single in the seventh, the team was a combined 0-of-15 for the remainder of the game with two walks and a hit batter.
On the mound: The only run allowed by Jack Flaherty over five innings was a first-inning homer from Jose Ramirez. He got defensive help from Harrison Bader, who threw out a runner at the plate in the third. Flaherty struck out five, walked one and hit a batter … After working a scoreless sixth, pitching around a leadoff walk, Genesis Cabrera had to come out of the game before warming up in the seventh because of a cracked fingernail … Austin Gomber, Giovanny Gallegos and John Gant kept the Indians from scoring over the next four innings. Alex Reyes worked a scoreless 11th before giving up what turned out to be the winning run in the 12th.
Key stat: During the four-game losing streak, the Cardinals were a combined 3-of-30 with runners in scoring position, including the 1-of-15 performance on Saturday.
Worth noting: After failing to get out of the first inning on Friday night, Daniel Ponce de Leon was one of three players optioned to the Springfield satellite camp before Saturday’s game. “He understood the move,” Shildt said. “You’re never far off either way in this game some times. I don’t think Ponce is way, way off. Clearly it wasn’t a positive outing, things snowballed a little bit. Go down and work on some of the things we talked about and some things he feels like he needs to work on as well.” … Johan Oviedo will move into that spot in the rotation, Shildt said … The other players sent to Springfield were Junior Fernandez and Max Schrock, while Ricardo Sanchez was placed on the IL because of soreness in his forearm. Rejoining the team from Springfield were John Nogowski, Rob Kaminsky, Seth Elledge and Ryan Meisinger … Carlos Martinez is still on track to start one of the games in the upcoming flurry of doubleheaders on the next road trip, Shildt said. The Cardinals will play three doubleheaders in a six-day span between Sept. 5 and Sept. 10. Ponce de Leon also could return to start at least one of those games, Shildt said.
Looking ahead: Adam Wainwright will get the start on Sunday in the final game of the series and the homestand.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains